Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Surprise Scenario

The French language newspaper L’Orient-le Jour published a handy article yesterday in which various scenarios were mentioned as to what the future can bring according to sources close to March 8. There are a total of 6 possible developments , ranging from unlikely to highly unlikely, but that’s just how things are now in Lebanon.

Scenario 1:
A unity government is being installed prior to the presidential elections. The government would have as task to pave the way for electing a president who can unite the country. This is the favorite option of the Opposition, however, it’s highly unlikely the government will accept this scenario.

Scenario 2:
A unity government will not be installed because all parties will agree on the presidential candidate before the elections, hence removing the need for such government. This scenario is also highly unlikely due to the persistence with which the Opposition has demanded that first a unity government should be formed before a president can be elected. Still, if all parties would agree on a neutral candidate, it might just work.

Only two problems would be to find a candidate who is truly neutral in the eyes of both March 14 and March 8 and to overcome the objections of the patriarch who feels that a compromise candidate will weaken the presidential function and thus the power of the Maronites.

Scenario 3:
If the previous scenario doesn’t result in a strong enough compromise candidate (heh, talk about a contradiction), another option would be to elect a president for only 2 years. In this scenario, the president would have a specific function to revamp the election law and to ensure the next elections will be acceptable to all parties. This option is also not very likely due to the fact that a president for two years only will weaken the presidential function too much in the eyes of the Christians.

Scenario 4:
The fourth scenario is loosely based on the first and second: forming a transitional unity government under leadership of army commander Michel Suleiman. He is seen by many as neutral since he has been going against orders from president Lahoud, which makes him acceptable to the March 14. As well, he has allowed the tents occupying Downtown since December 1, which gave him credit among March 8. Only problem is that Suleiman himself has ruled out this option: he will not be available for the presidential seat. Then again, holding your cards close to your chest is trait shared by most candidates.

Scenario 5:
The fifth scenario is to form a parallel government in case the previous options don’t work. This scenario seems to have lost its momentum, especially since president Lahoud has not undertaken any visible action to start appointing ministers for this shadow government. Earlier, he had mentioned July 15 as the deadline: if by then no solution would have been reached, he would start forming the parallel government. However, July 15 came and passed without any concrete action of Lahoud.

Scenario 6:
The Surprise Scenario! Like a magician pulls rabbits out of his head, there is talk that Lahoud is working on a surprise scenario. Nobody really knows the details, but rumors have it that the circle around Lahoud is planning a way out of the current stalemate. Details are scarce, but sources close to Lahoud have said their scenario would obey all Lebanese laws, including the Constitution, and would satisfy both March 8 and March 14.


R said...

I believe you mean March 8 (not 7)

Riemer Brouwer said...


Thanks, it has been corrected!